Category Archives: Five Stars

This Was Always About Basketball

This Was Always About Basketball by Craig Leener is a wonderful story that follows the protagonist Ezekiel Archer, better known as ‘Zeke,’ as he prepares himself for his next big step in life at the University of Kansas. This is where he plans to take his basketball dreams to the next level. However, as he begins completing his extensive to-do list before he leaves, he encounters a few bumps along the way, such as history being completely altered. As this is not the first time an unusual happening has been in Zeke’s life, he knows exactly who to turn to, his autistic but brilliant mathematician friend Lawrence.

The whole concept behind this story is compelling, and the imagination used to combine science fiction with a diary written by Zeke is done well. Having the story written in the first person narrative and having him address the reader by introducing himself,  ‘My name is Ezekiel Archer’  from one of the first lines draws them in, making them feel included in the story. There are areas throughout where the details are rich and descriptive, such as ‘Lawrence’s handwriting—rigid and purposeful letters carefully sketched and slanted in an easterly direction.’ These moments allow readers to come to know the characters, it assists the reader in understanding them on a deeper level.

This Was Always About Basketball is an entertaining and enjoyable read. The chapters are short, but all relevant which helps with the plot flow, and you are always left wanting more. This is not the first book in this series that I have read, and I hope it will not be the last as through each adventure, you learn more about the characters and feel you are part of the story with them. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a fantasy story.

Pages: 257 | ASIN : B08PM9X1PW

Buy Now From Amazon

Type One Determination

Type One Determination by Lauren Plunkett is a self-help book that guides readers on how to live a healthy life with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). While primarily written to guide T1D patients on how to live their best lives with good HbA1c values, practically anyone who struggles with any chronic condition can find great use in this book.

Part-instructive, part-memoir, Type One Determination is divided into three parts: a comeback story, nutrition, and exercise. Plunkett has masterfully used her personal stories and journey as a T1D patient and a registered dietitian to provide a step-by-step approach to how T1D patients can use nutrition and exercise to achieve remarkable clinical results and self-fulfillment.

In a chapter titled, ‘Feeding the Disease’, Plunkett opens a window into the emotional psyche of most T1D patients. While sharing in the relatable highs and lows of her anecdotes, her unmistakable humor makes it easy to forget you are reading through the pages of her lived trauma. This experience is, however, crowned with the epiphanic discovery of how nutrition can change the trajectory of living with the disease.

Plunkett’s words plunge deeply into the psychology of the average food lover. With the details of her chronicle, Plunkett offers information on how she used personalized but reproducible nutrition and exercise routines to achieve a satisfactory health record, body positivity, emotional awareness, and control. These methods are backed by scientific research from reputable sources, which Plunkett references.

You might think you are reading through a medical textbook with the details of the physiology of the cornerstones of diabetes- glucose, insulin, exercise, and nutrition. Yet, these concepts were written in the most comprehensible way that even health and nutrition students would benefit immensely from it.

Having consulted a variety of specialists for her condition over the years, lived through the challenges associated with T1D, and even studied nutrition herself, Plunkett has seen the A-Z of solutions offered to T1D patients and also seen how many of them fail. The exceptional technique she offers in her easy-to-follow counsel is the comeback determination anyone living with the disease needs.

Type One Determination is an educational look into how T1D impacts the lives of those living with this condition. With her medical background and personal experience as a patient, the author shares her knowledge with readers in hopes of helping them find a healthier self.

Buy Now From Amazon

Danger Peak

Danger Peak by Michael Thomas Perone is a feel-good coming-of-age story that follows 13-year-old Robert and his best friends Chris and Rinnie. We follow this group of friends who are part of the motorbike racing club known as the Wild Boars. Readers are taken on an adventure filled with nostalgia, courage, and determination as Robert sets out to conquer Danger Peak.  

Author Perone transports the reader back into the 80s, filled with references to Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, and good times like getting into mischief with friends. This nostalgic book reminded me of The Sandlot, but instead of tackling “The Beast,” it is Danger Peak this time.

The characters are well developed, and the author perfectly portrays the teenage attitude where all kids want to do is hang out with friends and have a good time making this a relatable read to young readers. Robert’s determination is inspiring, and there are times when you feel sad for him, especially when he has flashbacks of his older brother Danny. I also enjoyed the fact that Robert’s family didn’t come off as the perfect family, and they were going through real problems. The author’s writing is not elaborate or detailed and is perfect for middle-aged readers.

Danger Peak is an entertaining, page-turning read that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. I highly recommend this book to middle-grade readers and even those who want to reminisce about the good old days of growing up in the 80s.

Pages: 195 | ASIN : B0B5S7ZHMQ

Buy Now From Amazon

Honor in Concord

Honor in Concord by Cathryn McIntyre is a combination of memoir and fiction. The book takes place in Concord, Massachusetts, and is a story about history, love, reincarnation, and living our lives with truth and honor. While retelling the actual events in the author’s life, there are some fictionalized elements in the story. For example, the scenes that show famous writers from Concord’s literary past are fiction based on historical facts. There is also a third storyline, focused on honor, interspersed with scenes of Concord’s historical and literary figures.

This was an exciting and enjoyable book to read. I liked the inclusion of writings from historical, literary individuals from the 19th century at the beginning of the book. The author writes about their daily lives and families and the descriptions of the homes where they resided, which were shown through house tours of the historic sites taken by the author or fictional present-day characters. I enjoyed reading the scenes of life from the perspective of historical, literary figures.

The past and present are woven together in an interesting way in this book. One example is when the author imagines the historical figures in places found in present-day Concord that they had visited during their own lives in the 1800s. I enjoyed all the bits of history that were included throughout the book, especially the places where parallels were shown between what historical Concord residents were feelings contrasted against people living in the present time who were feeling the same kind of emotions or thinking similar thoughts. In addition, I found the scene where the author tries to reason with Dr. Roland’s ghost rather humorous.

My favorite parts of this book were the pieces of the author’s own life and the historical information. The story’s subplot with Richard Hazzard and Sarah Simon was an interesting addition to this novel. However, I felt that these sections sometimes took away from the most exciting aspect of the story, which was the author’s spiritual and writer’s life in Concord and the everyday lives of Concord’s famous historical writers.

Honor in Concord: Seeking Spirit in Literary Concord is a unique combination of historical fiction and memoir that will enchant readers with personal stories and interesting historical facts. The author’s ability to combine these different writing elements into a cohesive and entertaining storyline makes this a must-read for those interested in authors like Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Alcott.

Pages: 240 | ASIN : B0B4G8LVL2

Buy Now From Amazon

Bike Riding in Kabul

Bike Riding in Kabul is the story of Jamie Bowman, a woman who works as foreign aid in several post-war countries. The author’s story is a unique take on the travel memoir genre. We don’t just read countless stories of an individual eating world-class dishes and laying on the beach; we watch someone help entire countries find their own peace. Through it all, we learn about the invaluable pieces of wisdom she learned along the way. From learning how to truly help people and understanding how many of these countries found themselves in their situations, there is so much wisdom to devour.

Conversational and thorough is one of the best ways to describe Bowman’s writing style. As she walks readers through her time in each country, she shares descriptions of the surrounding buildings and scenery. Without being long and drawn out, you gain a sense of the exotic locations as if you were there.

I enjoyed reading about Bowman’s adventures navigating the different cities she was in and how she made the best out of some of the most gloomy situations. It was easy to gather how passionate she was about the work she was doing. Even when the air quality in her broom closet-style office was so bad that she had to work on a staircase and stay in some not-so-great dwellings.

One of my favorite parts of this invigorating book is its unique twist on the classic travel memoir. Unlike many travel memoirs, there is a heavy focus on helping others through the author’s travels instead of personal enlightenment. Of course, there were enlightening moments for Bowman as she learns about the world outside of the United States, but that wasn’t the focal point. It was a nice change and made me feel like I wasn’t reading the same stories from memoirs past.

Bike Riding in Kabul by Jamie Bowman was a delightful read with much wisdom amongst its pages. This was a quick and engaging book that I highly recommend. If you’re looking for a unique travel memoir or just a profound story, then this is a book you must pick up.

Pages: 375 | ISBN : 978-1-6337-634-2

The Very Dead of Winter

The Very Dead Of Winter by Miles Watson is a work of historical fiction revolving around the Battle of the Bulge and is set during World War II. This interesting story centers around the three main characters with intermingled storylines, Halleck, Breese, and Cramm.  

In The Very Dead of Winter, Miles Watson explores the very concept of war. The author addresses how war affects the mind, morality, and the relationships of the soldiers involved, in addition to the cruelty and horror of the subject matter in which enemies actively murder each other in an effort to advance their personal cause. 

Each of the main characters in this book is complex, and we see in his writing how Watson brings each to life in the pages. Though the characters are different war officers, Watson portrays them in such a way that they are convicted by their morality, each one striving to do the right thing.  

Watson has written a book that is sobering but intriguing. If you are looking for a book with rich characters, an enticing story, and significant historical context, this book is for you. It will make you think, empathize, and put yourself in the shoes of those men and women in the military, specifically those in active combat. This book is well worth the read and will give readers a brand new perspective. I highly recommend it. 

The Very Dead Of Winter is a complex and thought-provoking historical war fiction novel. This captivating book can unmask the stereotypical idea of what the average citizen thinks a soldier looks like. The author’s storytelling abilities allow readers to get to the heart of the matter in distinguishing the humanity and moral choices people in the armed forces make in their daily decisions.

Pages: 380 | ASIN : B0B35N4S4D

Buy Now From Amazon

Boone and Jacque: Cytrus Moonlight

Boone and Jacque are back again in Boone and Jacque: Cytrus Moonlight! It has been 15 years, and they are living their best lives. Boone got married to Shammy, and they have two amazing children together. Boone and Shammy just want to live a life of peace and quiet. Jacque, on the other hand has become a detective and loves his job and his woman named Xantia, who happens to be a detective as well. Boone and Jacque still have a very strong friendship, but their lives turn upside down when a new mysterious murder happens. This throws Jacque and Boone into a new quest that they never wanted. They just want to live their simple lives.

The new book in the Boone and Jacque series is stupendous! Readers that have enjoyed prior books in this series will be blown away by the new characters and adventures. AG Flitcher takes readers on a magical and fantastical adventure that surpasses prior novels, going in a completely different direction and showcasing the growth of Boone and Jacque. In addition, this an inclusive novel. Jacque, Xantia, and Coralie are all part of the LGBTQI+ community.

Jacque and Xantia are a wonderful couple. Xantia was a great addition to the group and is a strong woman. Her character is well developed and fits perfectly into the story. Coralie is new as well, and I learned a bit about her, but I do hope to learn more about her in the next book. Reading about Boone and Shammy’s children is delightful; they add a new demension to the storyline. Boone’s character is still growing and figuring himself out, but I can say he is a loving father. It made me happy to see his character get some happiness after the childhood readers learned about in past books. Having Shammy to share his life with gives his story the joyful component he had been missing.

I still have some questions, but I imagine the next book will answer them. AG Flitcher seems to be very good at wrapping up loose ends. The story overall was well written. While I have my questions about Dr. Button and Jacque’s aunt and uncle, I am sure I will get my answers over time.

I give Boone and Jacque: Cytrus Moonlight 5 out of 5 stars. This novel felt very different from the others, but I can tell it is leading up to similar adventures with an extra twist. I look forward to the next book in this amazing series!

Pages: 350 | ASIN : B0B5SBNQ27

Buy Now From Amazon

Artist: Awakening the Spirit Within

Artist: Awakening The Spirit Within is a life-changing book by acting teacher and writer Jocelyn Jones. The book covers many different topics within the few key ones that revolve around us as humans, art and how we view it, and the freedom and spiritual uplifting that comes with it as well as the law of attraction.

Jones is an acting teacher who comes from a family of artists with her father being Broadway actor Henry Jones, her mother being a photographer, and her stepfather a writer. She has taught many different people throughout her life from world-renowned actors to people who have never set foot on stage before coming to her classes. The book is written from her informed point of view and includes life lessons that she has learned as well as many different techniques, exercises, and meditations that she uses in her classes that are helpful for everyone, not just artists and actors.

In this enlightening book the author talks about goals, spirit, knowing that we know, happiness, and our vibration and connects that with her own life and different tales of Hollywood in a beautiful way. The author teaches readers that we first and foremost need to find peace within ourselves and know that we are one with the spirit to go on and live a life on a higher vibrational frequency.

Since the book is quite literally an homage to the muses, myths, and anything and everything spiritual and creative Jones’ simple yet elegant style of writing compliments the topics she covers perfectly. Reading this book is a lovely experience as it was a pleasure reading something written with so much love and passion. The way she writes about art and artists is touching, and will resonate with anyone who has ever been moved by art. The writing is easy to follow and the author’s passion and knowledge is evident throughout the book.

In the book, Jones mentions that you may find this book or it may find you because it needs to find you. So true. I found myself reflecting on what I read for hours after I put the book down. Being an actor myself, this book resonated with me on many different levels and opened my eyes to many things connected to my craft. I recommend this book to actors, artists, musicians, art lovers, and anyone who wants to feel free, happy, and more at peace with themselves.

Pages: 267 | ASIN: B0B2VDH84H

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: